Two of Magic's Best All-Time Players Were Picked 16th in Draft

by Josh Cohen

ORLANDO - Barring a trade of some kind before the draft, the Orlando Magic will pick 16th in this year’s NBA Draft.

It’s the first time in their franchise history they will be selecting from this draft slot. Three times before they’ve had the 15th pick and one time they were 17th in line.

Again, assuming a trade doesn’t happen and they keep the player they draft, it won’t be the first time a No. 16 overall pick has been on the Magic’s roster, however.

In fact, two of the greatest players ever selected 16th are well-known to Magic fans.

Nikola Vucevic, a first-time NBA All-Star this past season for the Magic, and Hedo Turkoglu, arguably the most clutch player in team history, were selected 16th in their respective drafts.

Philadelphia chose Vucevic 16th in 2011. He played for the Sixers for one season before getting dealt to Orlando as part of the blockbuster four-team trade involving Dwight Howard. Eleven years earlier, Turkoglu was Sacramento’s first-round pick. The 6-foot-10, versatile small forward had his best years with the Magic, whom he helped guide to the NBA Finals in 2009.

While it’s true that many of the league’s all-time greats were lottery picks, there are plenty who were taken in the middle of the first round.

Two of today’s top players, who are competing against each other as we speak in the conference finals, are great examples. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard were No. 15 overall picks. Milwaukee selected the Greek Freak in 2013, while San Antonio acquired Leonard on draft night in 2011 from Indiana.

John Stockton, the NBA’s all-time assists leader, was the No. 16 pick in 1984. Interestingly enough, the Nets selected current Magic television commentator Jeff Turner right after Stockton with the 17th pick.

There have been several players chosen 16th besides Stockton who became All-Stars at some point during their respective careers.

Although none of them as prominent as the Spokane, Washington native, Jim Price, Rickey Green, Dana Barros, Chris Gatling and Metta World Peace each made one All-Star appearance during their NBA careers. Vucevic is now on that list as well.

The Magic will also have the 46th pick in the second round, which is encouraging considering there have been a few really solid picks from that slot the last several years. In fact, three players chosen 46th are playing in the conference finals.

Toronto’s Danny Green and Norman Powell and Milwaukee’s Sterling Brown were No. 46 overall selections. Cleveland’s Jordan Clarkson was also chosen 46th the year he was drafted.

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